Is emotional eating real or a cop out to eat more of what we know we shouldn’t?
Is it a way to play the victim role so that we don’t have to take responsibility for our actions?
What makes someone an “emotional eater“?
I’ve been hearing the label “emotional eater” thrown around quite a bit lately.
What’s is all about?
Quick Shout Out: A big hug and sincere thank you to my grams, who is 91 years old and in the picture above. She agreed to pose for this picture so that I could use it in this post – love you grams! 🙂
Let’s Talk Emotional Eating
Why do some people turn to food for comfort while others do not?
If you consider yourself an emotional eater, what can you do about it?
The good news is that emotional eating is not considered an eating disorder.
It is however, considered to be a contributing factor when it comes to obesity – which isn’t good.
Some people eat when they’re sad, stressed, or angry.
Others eat for comfort, when they’re bored, or as a means of procrastinating (that would be me).
The toughest part about putting a stop to emotional eating is to realize you’re doing it in the first place.
Reaching for food when you’re stressed, sad, or bored can become such a habit, you may not even realize you’re doing it.
To Stop Emotional Eating, You Must First Realize You’re Doing It
Once you do that, you’re half way there.
Realizing you’re an emotional eater is one thing, choosing to do something about it is another.
Even if you do catch yourself in the act and realize you’re eating emotionally, it doesn’t matter unless you decide to do something about it at that very moment.
It’s during these moments that we have a chance to overcome emotional eating or continue doing it.
Just because we realize we’re doing it or about to do it, doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it.
It takes making that decision, at that very moment, to say “I know what I’m doing or about to do and I’m not going to keep going down this same path.“
It is this conscience (tough) decision that’ll make all of the difference.
On the other hand, it’s during this same moment where we can decide to play the victim role because of a bad day at work, an argument with a friend, stress, whatever it may be, and still make the decision to eat anyways even though you know you’re eating out of emotion, and not hunger.
We CAN make the decision in that very moment not to eat emotionally…. the question is, WILL we make that decision?
It isn’t a matter of can we, it’s a matter of will we.
Yes I Know It’s Easier Said Than Done
But that’s how we roll here at The Wellness Bucket – we don’t sugarcoat anything.
We tell the truth, not what sells or what people want to hear.
Is it possible to stop eating emotionally? Absolutely.
Is it easy to do? Not exactly.
The question is, are you willing to do what it takes to get past it and stop emotionally eating?
I’m not saying it’s going to be easy (nothing worth doing ever is).
I’m saying it’s going to be worth it.
You’ll begin to feel better about yourself.
You’ll have more energy, confidence, and focus.
You’ll most likely lose weight, sleep better, and improve your relationships with those around you.
You’ll have this new sense of life and vitality to you that wasn’t there before, that you didn’t even know was possible or you were capable of feeling.
At this point, you’re probably saying to yourself…
“So Mike, you’re telling me that by addressing my issue with emotional eating, these will be all of the benefits I’ll see as a result?”
The Answer Is ABSOLUTELY YES!
Because when you control your eating, your urges, your bad habits (in this case, emotional eating), you develop a new sense of ownership over your life.
You go from thinking you’re not in control and just along for the ride to believing it’s you who’s in control and decides in which direction the ride will go.
And because you stop eating all that addition food, physically you’ll feel better – more alive, more energetic, less sluggish and weighed down.
As a result, your clothes will begin to feel and fit you better, you’ll notice your weight decreasing, providing you with even more confidence.
Your relationship with yourself changes because you now believe in yourself.
Your relationship with others changes as well because of this new ownership over your life you’ve developed.
All of this because you decided, “I will no longer eat emotionally.“
Here’s 6 Ways To Help You Stop Being An Emotional Eater
Take notice of the times you’re reaching for food, either out of sadness, stress, anger, or boredom.
Acknowledge that you’re about to eat not because you’re hungry, but for other (unhealthy) reasons. It’s at this very moment you have the ability to change things around.
What will you choose?
To take control, or be controlled?
Taking control sounds better although it’s the road less traveled, the road that leads to an abundance of health and happiness.
Talk To Yourself
When you’ve acknowledged the fact that you’re about to eat not because you’re hungry, but for other reasons, have a talk with yourself.
Vocalize to yourself what you’re about to do.
“I’m about to eat these cookies, bag of chips (whatever it may be) that I’m not hungry for.“
Tell yourself this and see how you respond.
You’ll be surprised how verbalizing it out loud can snap you out of your emotional eating state, giving you a chance to make the decision to not eat anything in that moment.
Have An Eating Plan
One of the surest ways to keep yourself from emotional eating is to have or create a nutritional eating plan that you commit to.
A plan that keeps your eating in check and regimented.
For example, a plan that consists of breakfast, followed by a defined morning snack (like an apple or protein shake), then lunch, then another defined snack in the afternoon, finishing off with dinner.
Having a structured eating plan eliminates the potential for more snacking and emotional eating.
I use the word “defined” snack meaning clearly define what the snack and amount will be.
If it’s almonds, that could mean a whole bag of almonds where as 10 almonds is a clearly defined food and amount.
For even better results, use this “defined” principle for your major meals as well, such as your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A plan of course, whatever plan it may be, is only as effective as how well we follow it.
Create and commit to whatever plan you decide on.
Read, dance, play music, do laundry, exercise, do whatever you need to do but walk away at that very moment you notice you’re about to reach for food.
When you walk away from emotional eating and are able to overcome that moment of “weakness”, you put yourself in a position of empowerment, as in you’re not a victim but instead, you’re in control.
It’s all about breaking the habit and walking away.
Next time you’re on the verge of emotional eating, stop what you’re doing and call a family member, a friend, someone you can confide in and tell them what you’re struggling with and trying to do.
It’s amazing how just getting it out into the open and telling someone about your struggle with emotional eating can make a big difference.
The reason being, you’re taking ownership of it and now, even telling someone else about it which is another level of support, encouragement, and motivation for you going forward.
You don’t need to take off for the gym or get in an entire workout.
Next time you catch yourself on the verge of emotional eating, drop down and do 20 push ups, or burpees, or lunges.
Aside from the fact that this will break your state of mind and have you focused on something else, exercise will also give you more clarity, awareness, and energy to make the right decisions.
Emotional Eating Is Real
It exists and there’s lots of people who struggle with it.
Try one or all six of these suggestions above and see which one you find works best for you.
I believe in you and know you can beat emotional eating if you choose to.
I’m not saying it’ll be an easy feat – what I am saying is it’s possible.
Not easy, possible.